Well folks it happened. We made it through a DC winter without a single weather-related work closing. I didn’t think I’d live to see the day that happened. These people have no idea what to do with snow. But unfortunately, we didn’t really have any snow. Or if we did, it came on a Saturday.
I’m thankful for such a mild winter. For one, I got to run a whole lot more, and most of the time I didn’t even need my cold gear. I didn’t have to scrape my car down ten minutes before leaving each morning. And I didn’t feel the need for a warm Starbucks cup in my hand as much as usual.
The one thing I’ll truly miss about the cold temperatures is the ability to heat the house on a Sunday evening because of whatever large hunk of meat I have roasting in my oven. Sunday dinners are often the most memorable, and surprisingly, they’re often the easiest, as they typically involve leaving meat alone in a low-temperature oven for several hours. All you have to do is stay home and make sure the house doesn’t catch on fire.
We bought the most beautiful chuck at the farmer’s market this morning, with BGSK’s Beer Beef Stew in mind. Seriously, the three point five pounds of marbled meat you see above was a thing of beauty. And it smelled good. Raw. I’ve never been one for beef carpaccio, but this was more tempting than I bargained for.
Don’t worry, I resisted. My husband sat at the kitchen table and wiped an inordinate amount of drool off his face while watching me slice this hunk of beef up, though.
Things only got worse as I seared the meat, added aromatics, and left it completely alone. For two hours. While I worked upstairs, and he down, we kept yelling to each other, “It smells so good!”
Dear readers, I know this blog has been dark for a little while. I know I used to post all the time, and that hasn’t been happening as much as it used to. Problem is, when you have a cooking blog, you have to cook great food. And though I’ve been cooking just as much as always, it hasn’t been memorable.
This dish is my grand entrance back on the blog. It’s bold, it’s flavorful, it’s comforting, it’s hearty, and it will knock the socks off your men friends, should you choose to serve it to them. Make it quick, as the number of cool evenings left in the year is limited.
I had my way with Cara and Phoebe’s recipe, adjusting it to fit the amount I needed, and the stock in my pantry.
To make 4 servings, you will need:
- canola oil
- a couple pounds chuck roast (mine was 3.5 pounds, but then I hacked off a bunch of fat, so who knows how much I ended up with), patted dry, cut in 1 inch cubes, and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 onions, sliced
- 4 carrots, large diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 tsp. dried thyme (or use 1 T fresh)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bottle beer (we used Stella)
- 2 C beef stock
- 2 T dijon mustard
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat canola oil in bottom of Dutch oven. Working in batches, sear meat on all sides over high heat, and set aside on plate. Saute onions about 8 minutes, and add carrots for another two, adding a little more oil if necessary. By this time, your onions should be good and caramelized. Stir in garlic, brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and saute till fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in thyme and bay leaf, and add beef and any accumulated juices back to Dutch oven. Pour in beer, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of your pan. Add broth, and mustard, and give everything a good stir. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and place in oven for 2 hours.
About 10 minutes before stew is done, heat 1 T oil in small skillet. Add mushrooms, and saute till they release their liquids, and soak them back up again. Toss 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in there while they’re cooking as well.
When stew is finished, remove from oven, and add mushrooms. Serve hot, over a starch of your choice. We had mashed potatoes.